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Latham & Watkins Capital Markets Practice Group March 6, 2014 | Number 1244

The Good, the Bad and the Offer: Law, Lore and FAQs
An Updated Look at the World of Offers
It all seems simple enough. The concept of offer is broad under the securities laws, so companies and
underwriters need to be careful about any publicity in connection with a securities transaction. But in
practice, the puzzling questions come thick and fast. Can the company issue a press release about its
latest product? Can the CEO speak at the upcoming industry conference? Can the CEO be interviewed
on CNBC the day after the IPO? And if publicity is so tightly controlled, why is it fine to hold a road show?
Sorting out these issues can be challenging, especially in real time. And you have to be sure of yourself,
because you will need a compelling reason to nix a hard-charging CEOs upcoming Mad Money
appearance. This updated Client Alert provides a comprehensive summary of the law and lore relating to
offers in securities transactions and a guide to maneuvering safely through the maze of available safe
harbors and industry customs. This update to our 2011 publication reflects the changes made in 2012 by
Titles I and II of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012. We also include a variety of
FAQs to help you answer questions that often come up in practice.
Background Regulation of the Offer
Lets begin at the beginning. Section 2(a)(3) of the Securities Act defines the term offer expansively to
include every attempt or offer to dispose of, or solicitation of an offer to buy, a security or interest in a
security, for value. You can see the problem right off the batgiven the breadth of this language, it can
be difficult to say with certainty what is or is not an offer under this definition. And the SEC long ago
stated that any publicity that may contribute to conditioning the public mind or arousing public interest in
the offering can itself constitute an offer under the Securities Act.
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Section 2(a)(3) works closely with Section 5 of the Securities Act, which imposes an intricate framework
of restrictions on offers in connection with securities transactions. It also closely regulates the use of a
prospectusa term defined in Section 2(a)(10) of the Securities Act in a manner that captures all written
offers of any kind (and some that are not obviously written, as we discuss in more detail below). Private
offerings, such as those made to qualified institutional buyers (QIBs) in reliance on Securities Act
Rule 144A, are exempt from Section 5 but have their own set of restrictions. Over the years, the SEC has
adopted a number of safe harbors to protect various activities that are either harmless or necessary to the
proper functioning of the capital markets. In 2012, the JOBS Act introduced additional communication
freedoms in connection with certain offerings by issuers that qualify as emerging growth companies
(EGCs).
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The Appendix to this Client Alert includes a brief refresher course on the workings of Section 5
and the important provisions of private and offshore offerings and transactions. It also contains additional
information on the rules related to research analyst reports and large companies known as well-known
seasoned issuers (WKSIs).
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Is It an Offer?
The first question to ask when analyzing any particular fact pattern is the common-sense question, Is it
an offer? Despite the broad definition of offer, some activities are not problematic because they are
clearly not offers or because an SEC rule provides a safe harbor exclusion from the definition of offer.
Clearly Not Offers
Some communications are far enough afield from an offer of securities that you do not need to worry
further. Depending on your specific facts and circumstances, examples of things that may fall outside the
definition include:
Product Advertising and Factual Business Communications. Just because a securities offering is
planned or ongoing, a company need not stop advertising its products or refrain from issuing press
releases regarding factual developments in the business (the opening of a new office, for example).
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As the SEC put it in the context of securities offering reform in 2005, In general, as we recognized
many years ago, ordinary factual business communications that an issuer regularly releases are not
considered an offer of securities . . . Such communications will not be presumed to be offers, and
whether they are offers will depend on the facts and circumstances.
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The Collision Principle. As a general matter, where a company faces an obligation under the
Exchange Act to make a public statement, or where good corporate citizenship calls for disclosure of
important events to existing public security holders, the required disclosure should not be considered
an offer.

We think of this as the collision principle: In a collision between the requirements of the Exchange Act
and those of the Securities Act, the Exchange Acts ongoing disclosure requirements ought to prevail
over the Securities Acts close regulation of offers. As the SEC has explained, We do not believe that
it is beneficial to investors or the markets to force reporting issuers to suspend their ordinary course
communications of regularly released information that they would otherwise choose to make because
they are raising capital in a registered offering.
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Release of Material Non-Public Information to Satisfy Regulation FD. The SEC Staff has recognized
that a reporting company engaged in a private offering may have obligations under Regulation FD to
publicly disclose material non-public information it provides to potential investors in the private
offering. If so, the SEC Staff has indicated that it is permissible to release the material non-public
information on a Form 8-K, so long as the entire private offering memorandum is not included in the
filing.
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Arguably, this is simply an application of the collision principle discussed above.
If common sense doesnt clearly answer whether a particular fact pattern constitutes an offer, the next
step is to review the many safe harbors and determine if any of them would apply.
Safe Harbors Public Transactions
Securities Act Rule 163A The 30-Day Bright-Line Safe Harbor
Rule 163A provides all issuers (whether or not already public filers) with a non-exclusive safe harbor from
Section 5(c)s prohibition on pre-filing offers for certain communications made more than 30 days before
the public filing of a registration statement, even if those communications might otherwise have been
considered to be an offer under Section 2(a)(3). For an EGC that confidentially submits a draft registration
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statement for non-public review by the SEC, the date of the first public filing of the registration statement,
not the date of the confidential submission, determines the availability of the Rule 163A safe harbor. Rule
163A is not available to prospective underwriters, even those authorized by an issuer to approach the
market on the issuers behalf.
The requirements for Rule 163A include that:
the communication cannot refer to the securities offering;
the communication must be made by or on behalf of an issuerin other words, the issuer will need to
authorize or approve each Rule 163A communication (and any communications by an underwriter will
not come within the safe harbor); and
the issuer must take reasonable steps within its control to prevent further distribution of the
communicated information during the 30-day period before filing the registration statement (although
the SEC has suggested that the issuer may maintain this information on its website, if the information
is appropriately dated, identified as historical material and not referred to as part of the offering
activities).
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Securities Act Rule 135 Pre-Filing Public Announcements of a Planned Registered
Offering
Rule 135 provides that an issuer will not be deemed to make an offer of securities under Section 5(c) as a
result of certain public announcements of a planned registered offering. Rule 135 notices can be released
at any time, including before a registration statement is filed.
Under Rule 135, the announcement must contain a legend, as well as limited information, including:
the name of the issuer;
the title, amount and basic terms of the securities offered;
the anticipated timing of the offering; and
a brief statement of the manner and purpose of the offering, without naming the prospective
underwriters for the offering.
Securities Act Rule 168 Factual Business Communications by Reporting Companies
Rule 168 is a non-exclusive safe harbor from Section 5(c)s prohibition on pre-filing offers (and from
Section 2(a)(10)s definition of prospectus) that is available only to reporting issuers with a history of
making similar public disclosures. It allows a reporting issuer (and certain widely traded non-reporting
foreign private issuers (FPIs)) to make continued regular release or dissemination of factual business
information and forward-looking information,
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but not information about an offering or information
released as part of offering activities. Like Rule 163A, Rule 168 is not available to underwriters (even if
they have the issuers blessing). In addition, voluntary filers may not rely on this Rule, and instead must
look to Rule 169.
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Disclosure of Rule 168 information is permitted at any time, including before and after the filing of a
registration statement, but only if:
the issuer has previously released or disseminated Rule 168 information in the ordinary course of its
business; and
the timing, manner and form in which the information is released is materially consistent with similar
past disclosures.
For the information to be considered regularly released in the ordinary course of business, the method of
releasing or disseminating the information, and not just the content, is required to be consistent in
material respects with prior practice.
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Therefore, under Rule 168, the issuer will need to be able to show
a record of releasing the particular type of information in the same particular manner, although the SEC
has acknowledged that one prior release could establish a sufficient record.
12
The SEC has, however,
cautioned that an issuers release of new types of financial information or projections just before or
during a registered offering will likely prevent a conclusion that the issuer regularly releases that
information.
13

Where does this leave you? Because Rule 168 looks to track record, a newly public company should
establish a pattern of issuing information and then stick to it. Concluding that the safe harbor for any
particular situation is available is going to be easier if a company can point to a prior record of releasing
the same general information on reasonably similar timing.
Securities Act Rule 169 Factual Business Communications by Non-Reporting Issuers
and Voluntary Filers
Rule 169 is similar to Rule 168 in that it provides a non-exclusive safe harbor from both Section 5(c)s
restriction on pre-filing offers and Section 2(a)(10)s definition of prospectus. Unlike Rule 168, Rule 169 is
available to non-reporting issuers and voluntary filers. It is also more limited than Rule 168 in a number of
ways. First, under Rule 169, non-reporting issuers are permitted to continue to release factual business
information, but not forward-looking information. Second, Rule 169 is available only for communications
intended for customers, suppliers and other non-investors. The SEC has nonetheless made clear that the
safe harbor will continue to be available if the information released is received by a person who is both a
customer and an investor.
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Securities Act Rule 134 Limited Post-Filing Communications
Rule 134 provides that certain limited written communications related to a securities offering as to which a
registration statement has been filed will not be considered to be a prospectus (in other words, will be
exempt from SEC restrictions applicable to written offers). Rule 134 is only available once a preliminary
prospectus that meets the requirements of Section 10 has been filed, which would include a base
prospectus in a shelf registration statement that covers the securities offered. IPO issuers may rely on
Rule 134 before filing a price range prospectus, although the Rule does require a price range prospectus
for certain specific statements, as discussed below.
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Rule 134 is often used for the press release
announcing the commencement of a registered offering, as well as the tombstone advertisement
following the closing.
The information permitted by Rule 134 includes:


certain basic factual information about the legal identity and business location of the issuer, including
contact details for the issuer;
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the title and amount of securities being offered;
a brief description of the general type of business of the issuer, limited to information such as the
general types of products it sells;
the price of the security or the method for determining price (in the case of an IPO, this information
cannot be provided until a price range prospectus has been filed);
in the case of a fixed-income security, the final maturity, interest rate or yield (in the case of an IPO,
this information cannot be provided until a price range prospectus has been filed);
anticipated use of proceeds, if then disclosed in the prospectus on file;
the name, address, phone number and email address of the sender of the communication, and
whether or not it is participating in the offering;
the names of the underwriters participating in the offering and their additional roles in the underwriting
syndicate;
the anticipated schedule for the offering, and a description of marketing events;
a description of the procedures by which the underwriters will conduct the offering and information
about procedures for opening accounts and submitting indications of interest, including in connection
with directed share programs;
in the case of rights offerings, the class of securities the holders of which will be entitled to subscribe,
the subscription ratio and certain additional information;
certain additional information, including the names of selling security holders, the exchanges on
which the securities will be listed and the ticker symbols; and
a required legend.
Safe Harbors Private Transactions
Securities Act Rule 135c Limited Notices of Unregistered Offerings
Rule 135c provides that a company subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act (and
certain non-reporting FPIs) will not be deemed to make an offer of securities under Section 5(c) if it issues
a notice about a proposed or completed unregistered offering. Rule 135c is the safe harbor relied on for
the press release announcing the commencement of a private offering by a public company. Rule 135c is
not technically available to voluntary filers.
A Rule 135c noticewhich can take the form of a press release or a written communication directed to
shareholders or employeesdoes not constitute general solicitation or directed selling efforts.
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Rule 135c specifies that the notice must:
state that the securities offered have not been or will not be registered under the Securities Act and
may not be offered absent registration or an exemption from registration;
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contain only limited information, including:
the name of the issuer;
the title, amount and basic terms of the securities being offered;
the amount of the offering, if any, being made by selling shareholders;
the time of the offering; and
a brief statement of the manner and purpose of the offering, without naming the underwriters.
be filed on Form 8-K (or furnished on Form 6-K, in the case of an FPI).
Safe Harbors Foreign Private Issuers
Securities Act Rule 135e
Rule 135e provides a safe harbor from the definition of offer for FPIs. Offshore press activity meeting
Rule 135e does not constitute general solicitation or directed selling efforts.
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Rule 135e allows an FPI to provide journalists with access to:
its press conferences held outside the United States;
meetings with issuer (or selling security holder) representatives conducted outside the United States;
and
written press-related materials released outside the United States at or in which the issuer discusses
its intention to undertake an offering.
To take advantage of Rule 135e, the offering must not be conducted solely in the United Statesthat is,
the issuer must have a bona fide intent to make an offering offshore concurrently with the US offering.
The issuer must also provide access to both US and non-US journalists, and ensure that any written
press releases are distributed to journalists (including US journalists) outside the United States and
contain a specified legend.
What About Voluntary Filers?
Voluntary filers are not true reporting companies in the SECs eyes because, even though they file
Exchange Act reports, voluntary filers are not required to do so under Exchange Act Section 13 or 15(d).
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As a result, a number of the safe harbors discussed above are not expressly available to voluntary filers.
But that may not be the end of the story. For example, even though Rule 135c is technically limited to
reporting companies, the policy concern that underlies Rule 135cnamely, that reporting companies
have a legitimate interest in communicating with their security holders about financing activities apply
with equal force to voluntary filers. As a result, practitioners often conclude that the Rule should by
analogy protect communications by voluntary filers as well, in the same way that the SEC has itself
applied Rule 135c principles by analogy.
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Similarly, ordinary ongoing communications by a voluntary filer with its investors (such as quarterly
earnings releases) are within the spirit, but not the letter, of the Rule 168 safe harbor. (Rule 169 is no help
here because it is available only for communications to non-investors.) Fortunately, though, there is life
outside Rules 168 and 169. As the SEC said when adopting Rules 168 and 169, they are not intended to
affect in any way the Securities Act analysis regarding ordinary course business communications that
are not within the safe harbors.
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Accordingly, where a particular public statement by a voluntary filer is
consistent with past practice, Exchange Act reporting principles or the policies underlying Regulation FD,
most practitioners are inclined to find that it is not problematic for Securities Act purposes. This is just
another example of the collision principle at work.
Certain Research Reports Published By Broker-Dealers
Publication of research about an issuer by an underwriter participating in an offering during any stage of
the registration process raises questions regarding whether the research report could be considered to be
an offer of securities or a non-conforming prospectus. Securities Act Rules 137, 138 and 139 set out
circumstances under which a broker-dealer may publish research contemporaneously with a registered
offering without running afoul of the statutory definition of underwriter (Rule 137) or Section 5 (Rules 138
and 139). In addition, the JOBS Act extends certain principles underlying Rule 139 to provide broker-
dealers with an exclusion from the definition of offer in Section 2(a)(3) for research reports relating to
EGCs in connection with common equity offerings.
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We discuss the research safe harborswhich are not available to issuersin the Appendix.
Its an Offer But Its OK
Public Transactions
Securities Act Rule 163 Pre-Filing Offers By WKSIs
Rule 163 creates a non-exclusive safe harbor for WKSIs from Section 5(c)s prohibition on pre-filing
offers. The exemption is currently not available to underwriters, although the SEC has proposed (but not
yet adopted) broadening its scope to include certain underwriters and dealers authorized by an issuer to
approach the market on the issuers behalf.
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Under Rule 163, offers by or on behalf of a WKSI before the filing of a registration statement are free from
the restraints of Section 5(c) if certain conditions are met. These include that any written offer must
contain a prescribed legend and must be filed with the SEC promptly upon filing of the registration
statement for the offering unless the communication has previously been filed with the SEC or is exempt
from filing under Rule 433 (discussed below). If no registration statement is ever filed, however, a Rule
163 communication will not need to be filed.
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Testing the Waters in EGC Offerings Securities Act Section 5(d)
The JOBS Act added Section 5(d) to the Securities Act. Section 5(d) allows EGCs and their authorized
persons (including underwriters), before or after confidentially submitting or publicly filing a registration
statement, to meet with QIBs and other institutional accredited investors (IAIs) to gauge their interest in a
contemplated offering.
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These meetings can include oral and written communications. This practice is
known as testing the waters.
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EGCs who are considering testing the waters with potential investors should proceed thoughtfully. The
deal team will want to carefully review what is to be said at these meetings, bearing in mind that the
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information in the draft registration statement will continue to change during the registration process and
that the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws apply to the content of testing-the-waters
communications.
As with traditional road show materials, testing-the-waters materials should also be reviewed for
consistency with the information contained (or expected to be contained) in the registration statement.
The SEC Staff has taken an interest in testing-the-waters communications and routinely issues a
comment seeking copies of written materials used to test the waters. When testing the waters, issuers
and their authorized persons generally take care not to leave any written materials behind.
Oral Offers After Filing
For any issuer (whether or not an EGC) that has filed a registration statement, Section 5 permits all oral
offers but only certain types of written offers.
All written offers must comply with Section 10 of the Securities Act:
Section 10(b) authorizes the SEC to adopt rules permitting written offers through a preliminary
offering document, often called a Section 10(b) prospectus, which Section 5 permits an issuer to use
to offer securities.
Section 10(a) prescribes the information required in a final prospectus, the delivery of which Section 5
requires at or before any sale in a registered offering.
Permitting oral offers while restricting certain written offers seems simple enough in theory. As usual,
though, the devil is in the details. The category of written offers includes a few surprises.
For example, what do radio broadcasts, blast voicemails and TV advertisements have in common? They
all are written offers for purposes of Section 5. The slightly roundabout way to reach this conclusion starts
with the definition of prospectus in Section 2(a)(10), which includes any offer made by means of a written
communication, or any radio or TV broadcast. The term written communication in turn includes any
graphic communication, which is itself defined to cover all forms of electronic media.
There is, however, one important exception to the definition of graphic communication: It does not include
a communication that originates live, in real-time to a live audience (not in recorded form or otherwise as
a graphic communication), although it may be transmitted electronically as long as the transmission is
live.
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This is the exception that permits live road shows, which we discuss below.
Red Herrings
A red herring or red is the colloquial term for a type of preliminary prospectus permitted by
Section 10(b) of the Securities Act. A red herring can be used to make written offers but cannot be used
to satisfy the prospectus delivery obligations that apply when orders are confirmed and securities are
sold. This is because a red herring is a Section 10(b) prospectus but not a Section 10(a) prospectus.
Securities Act Rule 430 provides that, in order to be a Section 10(b) prospectus, a red herring must
include substantially all of the information required in a final prospectus, other than the final offering price
and matters that depend on the offering price, such as offering proceeds and underwriting discounts.
In addition, Regulation S-K Item 501(b)(3) requires a preliminary prospectus used in an IPO to contain a
bona fide estimate of the price range. The SEC Staff generally takes the position that a bona fide price
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range means a range no larger than $2 (for ranges below $10) or 20 percent of the high end of the range
(for maximum prices above $10).
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Regulation S-K Item 501(b)(10) specifies the required subject to
completion legend that must appear on the front cover of any preliminary prospectus. This legend,
printed in red ink, gives rise to the name red herring.
If a filed prospectus does not yet include a bona fide price range (in the case of an IPO) or otherwise
does not comply with Rule 430, it is known in the trade as a pink herringi.e., a filed prospectus that is
not quite a red because it does not yet meet the requirements of Section 10(b) and hence cannot be used
to solicit customer orders. Note, however, that a pink herring can be used in connection with permitted
EGC testing-the-waters activities.
Road Shows
Road shows are the duck-billed platypus of the securities worldthe evolutionary missing link with traits
of both oral and written offers. Securities Act Rule 433(h)(4) provides the formal definition of road show
as an offer (other than a statutory prospectus) that contains a presentation regarding an offering by one
or more members of an issuers management . . . and includes discussion of one or more of the issuer,
such management and the securities being offered.
You can see why a traditional road show (an intensive series of in-person meetings with key members of
the buy-side community over a multi-day period in multiple cities and, sometimes, in multiple countries)
would be an oral offer. But what about the slide deck that is traditionally handed out and reviewed at road
show meetings? And what if the road show is recorded and broadcast over the internet?
The explanatory note to Rule 433(d)(8) states:
A communication that is provided or transmitted simultaneously with a road show and is
provided or transmitted in a manner designed to make the communication available only
as part of the road show and not separately is deemed to be part of the road show.
Therefore, if the road show is not a written communication, such a simultaneous
communication (even if it would otherwise be a graphic communication or other written
communication) is also deemed not to be written.
As a result, road show slides and video clips are not considered to be written offers as long as copies are
not left behind. Even handouts are not written offers so long as they are collected at the end of the
presentation. If they are left behind, however, they become a free writing prospectus (FWP) subject to a
variety of detailed requirements spelled out in Securities Act Rules 164 and 433, which we discuss further
below.
FWPs
Under Securities Act Rule 405, a free writing prospectus is any written communication that constitutes an
offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the securities that are the subject of a registered offering
that is used after a registration statement has been filed. A confidential submission does not trigger the
Rules definition of FWP. A supplement to a statutory prospectus can be an FWP, as can press releases,
emails, blast voicemails and even press interviews.
The use of FWPs is governed by Securities Act Rules 164 and 433. Rule 164 provides that, once a
registration statement has been filed, an issuer or an underwriter may use an FWP if, among other things,
the issuer is an eligible issuer, the offering is an eligible offering and the additional conditions of Rule 433
are met.
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Securities Act Rule 433(b) Use of FWPs
Rule 433(b) distinguishes between the use of FWPs by certain seasoned and unseasoned issuers.
WKSIs, issuers eligible for Form S-3 or F-3 and certain majority-owned subsidiaries of the foregoing may
generally use FWPs after filing a registration statement that includes a Section 10 prospectus.
Things work differently for unseasoned issuers and voluntary filers. Unseasoned issuers for these
purposes include IPO issuers, as well as SEC reporting companies that are not eligible to register
offerings on Form S-3 or F-3, for example, because they have not timely filed required Exchange Act
reports in the previous 12 calendar months.
First, recall that for an IPO, the prospectus must contain a bona fide price range in order to qualify as
a Section 10(b) prospectus. So, IPO issuers cannot use an FWP until they have filed a price range
prospectus. The requirement to have a price range prospectus does not apply, however, in the case
of a media FWP that was not published in exchange for payment and was filed with a required legend
within four business days (as we discuss below).
Second, a Section 10 prospectus must accompany or precede the FWP, unless either:
a statutory prospectus has already been provided and there is no material change from the most
recent prospectus on file with the SEC; or
the FWP is a media FWP that was not published in exchange for payment and was timely filed
with a legend.
Note that an electronic FWP emailed with the proper hyperlink will obviate the need for physical delivery
of a prospectus.
Securities Act Rule 433(c) What Can Be in an FWP?
An FWP may include information the substance of which is not included in the registration statement.
But this information must not conflict with either:
information contained in the registration statement; or
information in any of the issuers Exchange Act reports that are incorporated by reference into the
registration statement.
FWPs must also contain a prescribed legend, and may not include disclaimers of responsibility or liability
that are impermissible in a statutory prospectus.
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These include disclaimers regarding accuracy,
completeness or reliance by investors; statements requiring investors to read the registration statement;
language indicating that the free writing prospectus is not an offer; and, for filed FWPs, statements that
the information is confidential.
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Securities Act Rule 433(d) When Must FWPs Be Filed?
The general rule is that an FWP must be filed with the SEC no later than the day the FWP is first used. If
you miss the SECs EDGAR filing cut-off for that day (5:30 pm Eastern time) you should still file the FWP
as soon as you can.
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Securities Act Rule 164 Certain Failures to File and Failures to Include the Required
Legend
Failure to comply with the conditions of Rule 433 will essentially result in a violation of Section 5(b)(1).
Rule 164 provides some welcome relief from these harsh consequences in the case of certain immaterial
or unintentional deviations from the requirements of Rule 433. In particular:
a failure to file or a delay in filing an FWP will not be a violation so long as a good faith and
reasonable effort was made to comply with the filing requirement and the FWP is filed as soon as
practicable after the discovery of the failure to file;
a failure to include the required legend will not be a violation, so long as (1) a good faith and
reasonable effort was made to comply with the legending requirement, (2) the FWP is amended to
include the required legend as soon as practicable after the discovery of the omitted or incorrect
legend and (3) if the FWP was transmitted without the required legend, it is subsequently
retransmitted with the legend by substantially the same means as, and directed to substantially the
same purchasers to whom, the original FWP was sent; and
a failure to comply with the record retention requirements of Rule 433 will not be a violation so long as
a good faith and reasonable effort is made to comply with these record retention requirements.
Securities Act Rule 433(f) Media FWPs
Rule 433(f) provides that any written offer that includes information provided, authorized or approved by
the issuer or any other offering participant that is prepared and disseminated by an unaffiliated media
third party will be deemed to be an issuer FWP. Nevertheless, the requirements for prospectus delivery,
legending and filing on the date of first use that would otherwise apply to FWPs will not apply if:
no payment is made or consideration given for the publication by the issuer or other offering
participants; and
the issuer or other offering participant files the media FWP with the required legend within four
business days after the issuer or other offering participant becomes aware of publication or
dissemination (but note that the FWP need not be filed if the substance of the written communication
has previously been filed).
Any filing of a media FWP in these circumstances may include information that the issuer or offering
participant believes is needed to correct information included in the media FWP. In addition, in lieu of
filing the media communication as actually published, the issuer or offering participant may file a copy of
the materials provided to the media, including transcripts of interviews.
Final Prospectuses
A final prospectus (also called a Section 10(a) prospectus) is the prospectus contained in an effective
registration statement. Only a final prospectus can be used to meet the Section 5 prospectus delivery
requirements associated with actual delivery of securities after pricing.
Shelf registration statements are different, because Securities Act Rule 430B permits the base
prospectus at effectiveness to omit certain types of information that would normally be required in a final
prospectus. This is especially true of WKSI automatic shelf registration statements, which can omit basic
information such as whether the offering is primary or secondary, or a detailed description of the
securities being offered.
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For a shelf registration statement, the base prospectus would be a Section 10(b) prospectus but not a
Section 10(a) prospectusin other words, it could be used to make offers but a final version must be
prepared and filed to meet the Section 5 prospectus delivery requirement associated with delivery of the
securities sold.
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Post-Effective Free Writings
Section 2(a)(10)(a) of the Securities Act contains a carve-out for documents sometimes referred to as
statutory free writingsthat is, any written offer that is accompanied or preceded by a final prospectus
that meets the requirements of Securities Act Section 10(a) (such as sales literature used after
effectiveness).
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These are not widely encountered in practice, but its useful to remember this provision.
Private Transactions
Offers That Are Not General Solicitations
As we note above, Section 5 does not apply to properly structured private offerings. In the private offering
context (other than transactions undertaken in accordance with Rule 144A or, in certain instances, Rule
506, as discussed below), the key requirement is that general solicitation cannot take place. Absent
unusual circumstances, a communication that is not an offer will not give rise to general solicitation
concerns. For example, Rule 135c notices of upcoming private offerings, Rule 169 press releases
announcing new products and Rule 168 earnings releases are not offers and so should not be considered
problematic. And even if a particular communication is in fact an offer, it would still pass muster in the
context of a private offering if appropriately made.
In private offerings where Section 5 does not apply, there is no need to observe the distinction between
oral and written offers that governs in registered deals. So long as the offer is made in a manner that
does not involve a general solicitation or the offering is undertaken in accordance with Rule 144A or Rule
506(c), the fact that a particular communication is a written offer is not an issue. In connection with these
activities, it is always important to consider the antifraud provisions of the securities laws, such as
Exchange Act Rule 10b-5, but those concerns are beyond the scope of this Client Alert.
Permitted General Solicitations in a Rule 144A Offering and Certain Rule 506 Transactions
The JOBS Act directed the SEC to eliminate the prohibition on general solicitation in Rule 144A and
certain Rule 506 offerings. The SEC rules implementing this statutory directive took effect on
September 23, 2013.
Under the final rules:
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General solicitation is permitted in all Rule 144A transactions. Revised Rule 144A(d)(1) requires
simply that securities must be soldnot offered and sold, as under former Rule 144Aonly to QIBs
or to purchasers that the seller and any person acting on behalf of the seller reasonably believe are
QIBs. As a result, the Rule 144A exemption is now available even where general solicitation is
actively used in the marketing process or has occurred inadvertently.
Rule 506(c) permits general solicitation in Regulation D private placements under certain
conditions. New Rule 506(c) permits the use of general solicitation if:
the issuer takes reasonable steps to verify that purchasers are accredited investors (AIs);
all purchasers are AIs, or the issuer reasonably believes that they are, at the time of the sale; and
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all requirements of Rules 501 (definitions), 502(a) (integration) and 502(d) (resale restrictions) are
met.
The reasonable steps to verify determination is flexible. Whether verification steps are
reasonable depends on the facts and circumstances. The SEC suggested that some relevant factors
include:
the nature of the purchaser and the type of AI that the purchaser claims to be;
the amount and type of information the issuer has about the purchaser; and
the nature of the offering, such as the manner in which the purchaser was solicited to participate
in the offering, and the terms of the offering, such as a minimum investment amount.
There is a non-exclusive list of four verification methods. The new rule includes four specific
non-exclusive methods of verifying AI status:
when verifying whether an individual meets the AI income test, reviewing for the two most recent
years any IRS forms that report the individuals income, and obtaining a written representation
from the individual with respect to the expectation of income for the current year;
when verifying whether an individual meets the AI net worth test, reviewing certain bank,
brokerage and similar documents and obtaining a written representation from the individual with
respect to the disclosure of all liabilities;
obtaining written confirmation from an SEC registered broker-dealer or investment adviser, a
licensed attorney or a CPA that has itself taken reasonable steps to verify, and has determined
within the prior three months, that the purchaser is an AI; and
obtaining a certification of AI status at the time of sale from an individual who invested in an
issuers Rule 506(b) offering as an AI prior to the effective date of Rule 506(c), for any Rule
506(c) offering conducted by the same issuer.
In a separate release in July 2013, the SEC also proposed additional requirements for Rule 506(c)
offerings involving general solicitation.
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These additional requirements have not yet been adopted.
Road Shows
A road show for a private offering does not need to follow the distinction between written and oral
communications. Instead, unless the transaction is undertaken in accordance with Rule 144A or Rule
506(c), the key is to limit attendance to permitted offerees and, if needed, to avoid general solicitation.
Even though there is no technical problem with handing out copies of road show slides in private
offerings, copies of slides are not typically left behind based on prudential concerns. Issuers and
underwriters generally prefer to rely solely on the carefully vetted text of the offering memorandum as the
official written offering material.
Offshore Offers
Regulation S under the Securities Act provides an exemption from Section 5 for offshore offers and sales.
We discuss the requirements of Regulation S in more detail in the Appendix. The most important
provision of Regulation S to bear in mind is its prohibition on directed selling efforts in the United States.
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Regulation S reflects the SECs historical concern about flowback into the United States of securities
sold abroad.
The term directed selling efforts is broadly defined to include any activities that have, or can reasonably
be expected to have, the effect of conditioning the market in the United States for the securities being
offered in reliance on Regulation S.
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Prohibited efforts include :
mailing offering materials into the United States;
conducting promotional seminars in the United States;
granting interviews about the offering in the United States (including by telephone); or
placing advertisements with radio or television stations broadcasting in the United States.
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Importantly, selling activities in the United States in connection with concurrent US offeringswhether
registered or privatedo not constitute directed selling efforts if such activities relate to the offering taking
place in the United States.
39
More generally, offshore transactions in compliance with Regulation S are
not integrated with registered or exempt US domestic offerings.
40
This means that permitted general
solicitation conducted under Rule 144A or Rule 506(c) will not constitute directed selling efforts that would
jeopardize a concurrent Regulation S offering.
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The Consequences of Getting It Wrong
Section 12(a)(1) of the Securities Act provides a recission right to any investor who buys securities in a
transaction violating Section 5. In other words, an investor can rescind the sale and recover the purchase
price paid (plus interest, less any amount received on the securities) if the offering is conducted in
violation of Section 5. An investor who no longer owns the securities can recover damages equal to the
difference between the purchase and the sale price of the securities, again, plus interest, less any amount
received on the securities. That is one of the reasons why it is important to follow the restrictions on offers
so carefully.
Section 12(a)(1) imposes strict liability, and an investor is not required to demonstrate any causal link
between his or her damages and the violation of Section 5. In order to be liable, however, a defendant
must be a sellerthat is, a person who successfully solicits the purchase, motivated at least in part by
financial interestand the plaintiff must actually have bought the securities from that defendant.
Underwriters are potentially liable under Section 12(a)(1) because their role is precisely to solicit
purchasers.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Offers
IPOs
1) Q: We are on file with the SEC but have not yet filed a price range prospectus for our IPO.
Can we circulate the filed S-1?
A: No, you cannot circulate a prospectuseven a filed oneto prospective investors in an IPO until
it includes a bona fide price range, unless you are an EGC conducting permitted testing-the-
waters activities with QIBs and IAIs.
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2) Q: Can an EGC set up meetings with select institutional investors?
A: Yes, EGCs may test the waters with QIBs and IAIs under Section 5(d) of the Securities Act.
Testing the waters can happen before or after a registration statement is submitted to the SEC for
review, and can be accomplished using oral or written communications. Most market participants
are careful not to leave written materials behind.
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EGCs should consider how much detail to
include in testing-the-waters materials, based on when testing the waters occurs and bearing in
mind that the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws apply to the content of these
communications. The SEC Staff has indicated a desire to review testing-the-waters materials for
consistency with the registration statement and routinely issues a comment seeking copies of
these materials.
3) Q: So, with the passage of the JOBS Act, is the prohibition on gun-jumping in EGC offerings
dead?
A: No, the JOBS Act authorizes EGCs to engage in testing-the-waters activities with QIBs and IAIs
only. It is still possible for an EGC to gun jump with respect to retail investors.
4) Q: How about a non-EGC? Can it set up some meetings with select institutional investors
after filing its IPO registration statement but before the preliminary prospectus with a price
range has been filed?
A: Yes, meetings of this sort can be held under the right circumstances. Typically, the deal team will
limit the number of institutions that can be approached for these early meetings to a small
handful. And there are some important rules of the road to keep in mind:
o Only oral offers permitted. You can communicate only orally because Section 5 permits oral
offers after a registration statement is filed, but written offers are not permitted except by way
of a price range prospectus or an FWP. Recall that the term written offer is a broad one in
this context, so watch out for things like emails in connection with the meetings. As noted
above, you cannot circulate a pink herring, even though potential investors will likely know
how to find it on the SECs EDGAR system.
o Cannot solicit orders. Apart from Section 5, there are separate limitations (under Exchange
Act Rule 15c2-8) on the ability of underwriters to solicit actual orders prior to the availability of
a price range prospectus in the IPO.
o Stick to the script. Statements at the meetings are subject to general antifraud provisions (for
example, Section 10 and Rule 10b-5) and the information provided at the meetings should be
limited to the information contained in the prospectus.
5) Q: We are thinking about a dual track M&A/IPO process. Can we send information to
potential M&A buyers?
A: Yes. This is common practice. The circulation of information to the potential M&A buyers is
unrelated to the public offering and is properly viewed as a private offering. In the case of an
EGC, it could also constitute permitted testing-the-waters activity. If the M&A transaction is
consummated, there will be no public offering, and if it is abandoned, it would be a permissible
concurrent private offering of securities. However, it may be difficult for anyone who was
approached in the M&A process to buy in the IPO if it moves forward.
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6) Q: We are thinking about conducting a Rule 144A or Rule 506(c) offering using general
solicitation concurrently with our IPO. What are the gun-jumping concerns in this
scenario?
A: Recall that Securities Act Section 4(a) provides an exemption from Section 5s various
restrictions, and that Rule 144A and Rule 506(c) transactions are exempt under Section 4(a). As
a result, general solicitation in connection with a Rule 144A or Rule 506(c) private offering should
not be considered gun jumping for a concurrent public offering, so long as there is an appropriate
separation between the two sets of offerees. We expect that issuers will want to take care to
segregate offerees to avoid the claim that the purported general solicitation for the private offering
was in fact being used to solicit investors in the public offering.
7) Q: The Wall Street Journal just ran an article about our IPO quoting from our S-1. Is this a
problem?
A: Assuming that neither the company nor other members of the working group had any involvement
in the article, this is not a problem.
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8) Q: What if the article quotes the CEO?
A: Remember that the requirements for prior or current prospectus delivery, legending and filing that
would otherwise apply to FWPs do not apply if no consideration was given by the company for
the article. So, if those are your facts, the article could qualify as a media FWP and hence a
permitted offer. However, you will have to keep the requirements for filing (and legending) media
FWPs in mind, and also consider whether any statements in the article need to be corrected or
whether any of those statements suggest that the disclosure in the S-1 should be amended or
expanded.
9) Q: Can we send an email to our employees talking about the IPO?
A: Yes, it is appropriate for top management to inform employees that an IPO registration statement
has been filed. Emails of this sort often discuss the IPO process and remind employees of the
need to avoid publicity. You should keep the restrictions of Rule 134 in mind in designing such a
communication (although communications outside the four corners of the Rule 134 safe harbor
may still pass muster depending on the facts and circumstances, since the rule is a non-exclusive
safe harbor).
10) Q: Can the email discuss the directed share program?
A: Yes, although there is a distinction to keep in mind here between communications about the
procedures for the DSP and solicitations of indications of interest in buying in the DSP. Rule 134
was amended in 2005 to allow more factual information regarding procedures for directed share
plans and other participation in offerings by officers, directors and employees.
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Rule 134(d)
provides that a communication may solicit indications of interest in an IPO only if the solicitation is
accompanied or preceded by a price-range prospectus. Forms of DSP communications can be
obtained from market participants that navigate this process.
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11) Q: Can we complete a planned rebranding initiative before launching the IPO? How about a
remodeling of the website?
A: Yes. The rebranding initiative should not be viewed as an offer if its purpose is clearly advertising
or positioning the companys products and services. Similarly, the website remodeling should not
be an offer of securities if its purpose is simply to refresh the companys marketing materials. Of
course, care should be taken to be sure that press generated by these activities and any new text
added to the website can be justified as communicating with customers and suppliers rather than
investors (although some incidental exposure to investors is not fatal).
12) Q: Can the CEO go on Mad Money the day after the IPO closes?
A: Good question. The short answer is that while this is sometimes done, it may not always be the
best idea. First, there are potential antifraud concerns to take into account. While a company
does not need to update the registration statement for most developments, the prospectus that is
being delivered still needs to be accurate and complete for the duration of the prospectus delivery
period (25 days for most IPOs).
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TV journalists are in the business of getting their guests to say
something newsworthy on camera, and Jim Cramer is no exception. If a CEO departs from the
prepared talking points and discloses material new information during the interview, it raises the
question whether the prospectus needs to be amended or supplemented to incorporate that
information.
Second, you need to bear in mind Section 5 concerns. It may be hard to reach the conclusion that
the CEOs statements are not an offer, since they are largely directed to a Wall Street audience. If
the statements are an offer, they will be considered to be a written offer because TV broadcasts
are considered written for these purposes. You would accordingly need to treat the broadcast as
a media FWP to avoid creating a non-conforming prospectus, which would then need to be filed
with the SEC.
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It is not typical market practice to create additional FWPs at this stage of the
transaction, so an FWP filing at this juncture may raise some eyebrows.
Non-Deal Road Shows and Industry Reports
13) Q: We dont have a particular offering in mind, and havent filed a shelf registration statement
yet, but our bankers have suggested we set up some meetings with our existing or likely
investors just to keep on their radar. They are calling it a non-deal road show. Can we do
this?
A: Yes. Non-deal road shows are common and should be viewed as good Exchange Act citizenship.
Outside the context of a particular offering, it is usually easy to conclude that these investor
meetings are for information purposes only and not an offer of any particular security. You will, of
course, want to steer clear of any mention of a potential offering, unless the company is (i) an
EGC and the persons with whom you are meeting are QIBs or IAIs or (ii) a WKSI and is willing to
satisfy the requirements of Rule 163 relating to pre-filing offers. You will also need to keep
Regulation FD considerations in mind.
In addition, since Rule 10b-5 applies to all material misstatements and omissions made in
connection with a sale of securities, the contents of non-deal road show presentations will require
careful vetting, particularly where there is only a short amount of time between the non-deal road
show and the launch of the offering.
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14) Q: We have been doing regular non-deal road shows for some time. Can we hold the next
regularly scheduled non-deal road show even though we have an upcoming shelf filing or
takedown off of an existing shelf?
A: Yes. Assuming you can fit within Rule 168, the non-deal road show would not be considered an
offer. If you already have a registration statement on file, the non-deal road show may be able to
be conducted as a permitted oral offer under Section 5.
If the non-deal road show takes place more than 30 days prior to filing a shelf registration
statement, Rule 163A may also be available (note that Rule 163A is not available after a
registration statement is filed).
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After a shelf registration statement has been filed and declared
effective, a non-deal road show presentation is permissible even if it is deemed to be an offer
since oral offers are permitted under Section 5 (but dont leave copies of the slides behind!).
Needless to say, you also would need to keep antifraud and Regulation FD considerations in
mind.
15) Q: Can the CEO speak at an upcoming industry conference aimed at customers, even though
the road show starts tomorrow?
A: Yes. Its always OK to sell your products. However, it may be prudent to provide your CEO with
appropriate parameters to help ensure that only products are being sold.
16) Q: What about an upcoming investment bank-sponsored conference aimed at investors,
scheduled for the day before the road show?
A: This could be trickier, because the SEC has cautioned that the Rule 168 safe harbor is not
available for releases of factual information that are part of offering activities.
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You may be able
to fit this in as a permissible non-deal road show. However, if the conference is close in time to
the offering, it might be more prudent to treat the conference as a road show. Among other
things, this means attendees should be provided with a preliminary prospectus. As a practical
matter, the company and its banking and legal advisors will typically want to maintain tight control
of information flowing to investors in proximity to an actual offering. Note that investment bank
conferences may be attended by journalists and analysts who expect to be able to republish
information they learn during the course of the conference.
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For all these reasons, companies
frequently cancel these engagements (often at the last minute) if they find they will be in offering
mode on the date of the conference.
Earnings Guidance
17) Q: The company wants to launch an offering next week but it does not expect to meet its
previously published quarterly guidance. Can the company revise guidance downward
just prior to launching its offering?
A: Yes. This is good corporate citizenship. Updating guidance to reduce the markets expectations
ordinarily would not be considered to be an offer under the Securities Act. Even if it were deemed
an offer, the collision principle discussed above counsels that the companys Exchange Act
obligation to communicate its reduced expectations to investors should trump the Securities Act
restrictions on offers.
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18) Q: What if the company wants to confirm or increase guidance immediately prior to launching
an offering?
A: This is a more difficult scenario. Rule 168s safe harbor for forward-looking information is only
available for information released in the ordinary course of business in a manner that is
consistent with past practice. It is possible that the company regularly confirms (or increases) its
guidance during the course of a quarter or year, but increasing guidance between earnings calls
is not in most companies ordinary-course playbook. The proximity of the increase in guidance to
the launch of the offering is another uncomfortable fact. Bottom line: Confirming or increasing
guidance within days of launching an offering is potentially problematic and deserves careful
consideration in light of all applicable facts.
19) Q: The company just announced an increase in its annual guidance and the market reacted
very favorably. How long do we need to wait before we can launch an offering?
A: It depends. The first question must be whether the Rule 168 safe harbor is available. Did the
increase in guidance occur on a regularly scheduled earnings release or call? Does the company
have a track record of adjusting guidance between earnings calls? These would be good facts for
Rule 168. If the Rule 168 safe harbor is not available, the more prudent course would be to hold
off launching the offering for a period of time sufficiently long to break the connection between the
increase in guidance and the offering. How long is that? The answer will depend on all of the
facts and circumstances.
20) Q: The company issued guidance for the year on its annual earnings call in March. Its now
July. The company still expects to meet (or slightly exceed) the guidance. Can the
company put a slide in the road show that reiterates its annual guidance?
A: This is tricky for two reasons. First the presence of the slide may suggest that the company is
confirming its annual guidance, which is effectively the same as publishing new guidance. That
raises the second question of whether material non-public information is being communicated to
investors at the road show. If it is, then prudential concerns suggest a public press release
confirming annual guidance, which in turn raises questions about whether the new annual
guidance is an offer and whether Rule 168s safe harbor is available.
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Many companies elect not
to include such a slide in their road show deck and deflect questions like Are you still comfortable
with your annual guidance? with an answer like this: We published our annual guidance in
March and it is our policy not to update guidance between earnings releases.
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Road Shows
21) Q: I want to hand out the road show slidesshould I take them back?
A: Yes, it would be prudent to take them back. But if the slides are not taken back, they become a
separate FWP. For this reason, some prefer not to hand out slides at all.
22) Q: Can I simultaneously broadcast my road show to audiences in different locations?
A: Yes. A live road show is not a written offer, even if it is simultaneously retransmitted electronically
to other locations, such as overflow rooms.
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23) Q: Can I webcast my road show?
A: Yes. Bear in mind, however, that since a prerecorded webcast is not delivered live, it is
considered to be an FWP. A road show that is an FWP does not need to be filed, except in the
case of an IPO. Even in the IPO context there is an exception to the filing requirement if the
issuer makes at least one version of a bona fide electronic road show available without restriction
electronically to any person (for example on an unrestricted portion of its website).
24) Q: What do you mean by a bona fide electronic road show?
A: Securities Act Rule 433(h)(5) defines a bona fide electronic road show as a road show that is a
written communication transmitted by graphic means. In the context of an IPO, it is common to
record the first road show presentation and post it on the internet for viewing by all prospective
investors. This version is usually called the retail road show. The issuer may elect to prepare a
different version of the electronic road show for viewing by institutional investors.
As long as the retail road show includes a discussion of the same general areas of information
regarding the issuer, management and the securities being offered as contained in other
electronic road shows or road shows for the same offering, the bona fide electronic road show
need not address all of the same subjects or provide the same information as the other versions
of an electronic road show.
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Despite this principle, there are divergent views among practitioners
about the pros and cons of having separate retail and institutional investor road shows.
25) Q: What can I put in my road show slides?
A: As a general matter, road show slide content should fall into three categories: (1) information
contained in your prospectus (including via incorporation by reference), (2) publicly available
information (typically about your industry) and (3) information reasonably derivable from the
foregoing. The third category is where the most questions arise. An example of something that is
generally fine is the presentation of a ratio, where the ratio is not in the prospectus but its
components are. Of course, you can save yourself some hand-wringing by just putting the ratio in
the prospectus.
26) Q: What cant I put in my road show slides?
A: Given the answer to the question above, it is probably not surprising that the stuff you cant put in
the road show slides, generally speaking, is the stuff we dont want to put in the prospectus due
to liability or selective disclosure concerns. Here are some classic examples:
o previously unpublished guidance, projections or predictions regarding future company
financial performance or market share;
o measures of historical financial performance or industry metrics that were not in the
prospectus due to the unavailability of appropriate back-up;
o predictions about future stock price performance;
o information regarding prospective new contracts and business partners;
o information regarding prospective M&A transactions or future financing plans; or
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o other material business plans or expansion opportunities not discussed in the prospectus.
Note that the problem with each of these examples is, first and foremost, they were not in the
prospectus. If the working group is comfortable putting the information in the prospectus, then
putting the information in the road show slides is generally fine. If information was excluded from
the prospectus for one or more good reasons, then it should not find a home in the road show
slides. Chances are, these same good reasons will apply to the road show slides. There may also
be Regulation FD considerations if the added information is material and non-public.
27) Q: OK, that covers the slides, but what can I say orally during the road show presentation?
A: To start with, the road show slides will typically have been reviewed by counsel and the company
can freely convey all of the information reflected in those slides. Management can also elaborate
on that information and answer audience questions, provided that they do not discuss material
information regarding the company that is not reflected in the prospectus. Providing more
granular detail in response to a question is generally fine, so long as the extra information is not
itself material. For example, if the prospectus discloses that next years capital expenditure
budget is $50 million, its appropriate to answer the road show question How does your capex
break down by quarter? In general, topics that were excluded from the prospectus and the road
show slides for one or more good reasons should not be covered orally at the road show.
28) Q: But my deal is a Rule 144A offering. Do any of these guidelines still apply?
A: Yes. Although many of the technical rules are inapplicable in this context, the rules of prudence
remain the same. A road show for a private offering does not need to follow the written/oral
distinction, but slides are usually taken back after being handed out. Practice surrounding Rule
144A road shows tracks that of public offerings. In the case of an SEC reporting company, there
is one additional wrinkle to bear in mind. As we note above, a reporting company engaged in a
private offering may have obligations under Regulation FD to publicly disclose material non-public
information it provides to potential investors in the private offering (for example, by filing the
material non-public information on a Form 8-K).

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APPENDIX
This Appendix is included for your convenience. It provides a slightly deeper dive with respect to some of
the topics discussed in this Client Alert.
Section 5
Section 5 divides the registration process into three distinct time periods:
Pre-filing or quiet period. The pre-filing or quiet period begins when a company decides to make a
public offering (usually by retaining an investment bank or banks to undertake the offering) and ends
when the registration statement relating to the offering is first filed publicly with the SEC. During this
period, Section 5(c) of the Securities Act prohibits any person from offering the companys securities.
Accordingly, other than certain testing-the-waters activities by EGCs permitted by Section 5(d) of the
Securities Act, absent an exemption from registration, such as the private placement exemption of
Section 4(a)(2) or an exception from the definition of offer, nothing that would be considered to be an
offer of securities is permitted during the pre-filing period.
Period between filing and effectiveness (also often called the waiting period). The waiting period
extends from the time that the registration statement is filed publicly with the SEC until the time that it
is declared effective by the SEC. During this period, offers but not sales of the security are permitted
by Section 5. However, under Section 5(b)(1), no prospectus other than a prospectus meeting the
requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act may be used to make written offers. Because the
term prospectus picks up nearly all forms of written offers (and many forms of oral communication,
including TV broadcasts, blast voicemail messages and the like), only certain types of oral offers and
a carefully limited group of written offers may be made during the waiting period. A properly designed
road show is one form of oral offer that satisfies the intricate requirements of Section 5. EGCs may
test the waters with QIBs and other IAIs during the waiting period.
Post-effective period. After effectiveness of the registration statement, underwriters and other
distribution participants may only sell the securities by means of a final prospectus meeting the
requirements of Section 10(a) of the Securities Act. In addition, underwriters will have an obligation to
deliver a final prospectus during a period of time following effectiveness, even in connection with
secondary market resales. Accordingly, until the later of (1) completion of the distribution of the
securities (that is, when the securities have been sold to investors) and (2) expiration of the relevant
prospectus-delivery period, limitations on publicity by the issuer will remain in place.
Private Offerings
The regulatory structure for private offerings is much simpler than the public offering regime. Section 5
does not apply to appropriately structured private offerings, so there is no concept of a quiet period or a
waiting period. Offers of securities in connection with private deals are nonetheless subject to significant
limitations, depending on the exemption from registration on which a company is seeking to rely.
In particular, for private placements conducted under Rule 506(b) of Regulation D or Section 4(a)(2) of
the Securities Act, no general solicitation or general advertising can be used to offer or sell the securities.
However, this prohibition does not apply to Rule 144A offerings or offerings under new Regulation D Rule
506(c).
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Regulation S
Regulation S provides a safe harbor for unregistered offerings outside the United States. If the conditions
of Regulation S are met, the transaction is deemed to take place outside the United States and hence
does not trigger the registration requirements of Section 5 of the Securities Act.
All Regulation S transactions start with the same basic requirements. Then, Regulation S layers on
additional restrictions depending on the nature of the issuer.
The basic requirements are that:
the offer or sale must be made in an offshore transaction; and
there must be no directed selling efforts in the United States. Importantly, selling activities in the
United States in connection with concurrent US offeringswhether registered or privatedo not
constitute directed selling efforts in the context of the offshore offering.
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An offshore transaction is defined as an offer which is not made to a person in the United States, and
either:
at the time the buy order is originated, the buyer is outside the United States or the seller (and any
person acting on the sellers behalf) reasonably believes that the buyer is outside of the United
States;
for purposes of the issuer safe harbor, the transaction is executed in, on or through the physical
trading floor of an established foreign securities exchange located outside of the United States; or
for purposes of the resale safe harbor, the transaction is executed in, on or through the facilities of a
designated offshore securities market and neither the seller (nor any person acting on the sellers
behalf) knows that the transaction has been prearranged with a buyer in the United States.
What Is a WKSI?
The definition of WKSI
56
includes an issuer (and its majority-owned subsidiaries under certain
circumstances) that:
meets the registrant requirements of General Instruction I.A of Form S-3 or F-3, which include that the
issuer:
has securities registered with the SEC under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act, a class of equity
securities registered under Section 12(g) or is required to file reports under Section 15(d) of the
Exchange Act;
has filed at least one annual report on Form 10-K or 20-F;
has filed on time all material required to be filed with the SEC during the 12 calendar months and
any portion of a month immediately preceding the filing of the registration statement; and
has not had any material defaults under debt or long-term lease agreements since the end of the
last fiscal year;
Latham & Watkins March 6, 2014 | Number 1244 | Page 27
as of a date within 60 days of the determination date,
57
has:
a worldwide market value of outstanding voting and non-voting common equity held by non-
affiliates of at least $700 million; or
issued at least $1 billion in aggregate principal amount of non-convertible securities in
transactions registered under the Securities Act, other than equity securities, in primary offerings
for cash during the past three years; and
is not an ineligible issuer or asset-backed issuer.
58

Research
Securities Act Rule 137 Publication of Research by Non-Participating Broker-Dealers
Rule 137 provides that a broker-dealer that is not a participant in a registered offering at the time it
publishes or distributes research will not be deemed to offer securities in a distribution and, therefore, will
not fall within the statutory definition of underwriter set forth in Section 2(a)(11) of the Securities Act.
Rule 137 applies in the context of offerings by reporting companies as well as voluntary filers. It is
available only to non-participating broker-dealers that have not and will not receive compensation for
distributing the research report from any person participating in the securities distribution. Rule 137 also
requires that the broker-dealer publish or distribute the research report in the regular course of its
business.
It should be possible for a broker-dealer that is not part of an underwriting syndicate to rely on the Rule
137 safe harbor for research reports that were published or distributed by it (or an affiliate) before being
invited to join the syndicate in an underwritten offering. However, since Rule 137 does not provide a safe
harbor from the definition of offer for purposes of Section 2(a)(10) or Section 5(c), the issuer and
managing underwriter for the offering will want to look closely at all of the facts and circumstances before
inviting that broker-dealer to become an underwriter. Prudential concerns may suggest excluding the
publishing broker-dealer from the underwriting syndicate, particularly if the research report was favorable
and published shortly before the commencement of the offering.
Securities Act Rule 138 Publication of Research by an Underwriter on Other Securities
of an Issuer
Rule 138 provides that an underwriter participating in a distribution of securities by either a US reporting
issuer or a non-reporting FPI that meets certain criteria (such as a large non-US public float) is not
deemed to make an offer of those securities if it publishes or distributes research that is confined to a
different type of security of that same issuer. For example, Rule 138 allows publication of research with
respect to non-convertible debt securities by an underwriter that is participating in a distribution of the
issuers common stock, and vice versa.
Rule 138:
covers research reports on reporting issuers that are current in their Exchange Act reporting (i.e., it
does not cover voluntary filers); and
includes a requirement that the broker or dealer publish research reports on the types of securities in
question in the regular course of its business.
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The SEC has explained that the underwriter need not have a history of publishing research reports about
the particular issuer or its securities, although it expressed concerns about situations in which an
underwriter begins publishing research about a different type of security around the time of a public
offering of an issuers security and does not have a history of publishing research on those types of
securities.
59

Securities Act Rule 139 Publication of Research About the Securities Being Offered by
an Underwriter
Rule 139 provides that an underwriter participating in a distribution of securities by certain seasoned
issuers can publish ongoing research about the issuer and its securities without being deemed to offer
those securities by way of its research reports. Rule 139 research can take the form of issuer-specific
reports, or more general reports covering an industry or sector. Rule 139 covers Form S-3 or F-3 eligible
issuers that are current in their Exchange Act reporting for issuer-specific research reports; all Exchange
Act reporting companies for industry research reports; and certain non-reporting FPIs for both types of
reports. The Rule does not, however, cover voluntary filers.
Issuer-specific reports. To qualify for the Rule 139 safe harbor, the issuer-specific research reports
must be published by the underwriter in the regular course of its business. That publication may not
represent the initiation of publication of research about the issuer or its securities (or re-initiation of
publication following discontinuation). However, the SEC has explained that this requirement will be
deemed satisfied if the underwriter has previously published research on the issuer or its securities at
least once, or has published one such report following discontinuing coverage.
60
The concept of
discontinuation of coverage is not defined in Rule 139.
Industry reports. Rule 139 requires that the underwriter must publish research in the regular course of
its business and, at the time of the publication of the industry research report, must include similar
information about the issuer or its securities in similar reports. Rule 139 no longer contains the
requirement that the broker-dealer not make a recommendation in the report more favorable than that
contained in previous reports, and in fact the broker-dealer need not have included any
recommendation in its prior reports.
61

EGC Research
The JOBS Act extends certain of the principles underlying existing Securities Act Rule 139 to provide
broker-dealers with an exception from the definition of offer in Securities Act Section 2(a)(3) for research
reports relating to EGCs that are the subject of a proposed public offering of common equity securities.
62

Similar to Rule 139, the new Section 2(a)(3) safe harbor provides that a broker-dealers publication or
distribution of research reports about an EGC will not constitute an offer for purposes of Section 2(a)(10)
(which sets forth the definition of prospectus) or Section 5(c), even if the broker-dealer is part of the
syndicate for the offering. Unlike Rule 139, Section 2(a)(3) permits initiations of research reports and
covers both oral and written research reports.
Despite the availability of Section 2(a)(3), it has become common for the lead underwriters in EGC IPOs
to impose a contractual research quiet period on members of the underwriting syndicate. This voluntary
research quiet period typically lasts (in the case of EGC IPOs that will be listed on an SEC registered
national securities exchange) until the 25th calendar day following the IPO effective date. This approach
reflects the view of many industry participants that investors should be looking only to the information
provided in the prospectus during the prospectus delivery (or availability) period set forth in Securities Act
Rule 174(d). The industry-standard 25-day blackout period has the added benefit of allowing the covering
Latham & Watkins March 6, 2014 | Number 1244 | Page 29
analysts time to prepare their research reports and provide analysis that takes into account the
information included in the final prospectus as well as post-offering developments.
If you have questions about this Client Alert, please contact one of the authors listed below or the Latham
lawyer with whom you normally consult:
Alexander F. Cohen
alexander.cohen@lw.com
+1.202.637.2284
Washington, D.C.

Kirk A. Davenport II
kirk.davenport@lw.com
+1.212.906.1284
New York

Dana G. Fleischman
dana.fleischman@lw.com
+1.212.906.1220
New York

Gregory P. Rodgers
greg.rodgers@lw.com
+1.212.906.2918
New York

Nathaniel L. Smith
nathaniel.smith@lw.com
+1.202.637.2392
Washington, D.C.

Joel H. Trotter
joel.trotter@lw.com
+1.202.637.2165
Washington, D.C.


Client Alert is published by Latham & Watkins as a news reporting service to clients and other friends.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice. Should further
analysis or explanation of the subject matter be required, please contact the lawyer with whom you
normally consult. A complete list of Lathams Client Alerts can be found at www.lw.com. If you wish to
update your contact details or customize the information you receive from Latham & Watkins, visit
http://events.lw.com/reaction/subscriptionpage.html to subscribe to the firms global client mailings
program.

Endnotes

1
See Publication of Information Prior to or After the Effective Date of a Registration Statement, Release No. 33-3844 (Oct. 8,
1957).
2
In order to qualify as an EGC, a company must have annual revenue for its most recently completed fiscal year of less than $1.0
billion. See JOBS Act Sections 101(a) and (b) (adding new Securities Act Section 2(a)(19) and Exchange Act Section 3(a)(80)).
After the initial determination of EGC status, a company will remain an EGC until the earliest of:
the last day of any fiscal year in which the company earns $1.0 billion or more in revenue;
the date when the company qualifies as a large accelerated filer, with at least $700 million in public equity float;
Latham & Watkins March 6, 2014 | Number 1244 | Page 30

the last day of the fiscal year ending after the fifth anniversary of the IPO pricing date; or
the date of issuance, in any three-year period, of more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities.
3
This flowchart outlines the offer analysis under US federal law. It does not address state securities laws.
4
See Guidelines for the Release of Information by Issuers Whose Securities are in Registration, Release No. 33-5180 (Aug. 16,
1971).
5
See Securities Offering Reform, Release No. 33-8591 (July 19, 2005) at 82 n.122 (Securities Offering Reform Release).
6
Id. at 58-59; cf. Securities Act Section 19(a) (providing that no liability provision of the Securities Act shall apply to any act done
or omitted in good faith in conformity with any rule or regulation of the Commission).
7
See SEC Division of Corporation Finance, Securities Act Sections Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI), Question
139.32.
8
Securities Offering Reform Release at 76-77.
9
Under Rule 168, factual business information means:
factual information about the issuer, its business or financial developments, or other aspects of its business;
advertisements of, or other information about, the issuers products or services; and
dividend notices.
Forward-looking information means:
projections of an issuers revenues, income or loss, earnings or loss per share, capital expenditures, dividends, capital
structure, or other financial items;
statements about managements plans and objectives for future operations, including plans or objectives relating to the
products or services of the issuer;
statements about the issuers future economic performance, including statements generally contemplated by the issuers
MD&A; and
assumptions underlying or relating to the foregoing.
10
Securities Offering Reform Release at n.81.
11
Id. at 63.
12
Id. at 64.
13
Id.
14
Id. at n.147.
15
See Securities Offering Reform Release at n.185.
16
Securities Act Rules 502(c) and 902(c)(3)(vi).
17
Securities Act Rules 502(c) and 902(c)(3)(vii).
18
See Exchange Act Rules C&DI, Question 130.02.
19
See Commission Guidance Regarding Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of
Operations, Release No. 33-8350 (Dec. 19, 2003) at n.54 and accompanying text (stating that discussion and analysis of future
financing plans should be considered and may be required and that disclosure satisfying the requirements of MD&A can be
made consistently with the restrictions of Section 5 of the Securities Act (citing Rule 135c)).
20
See Securities Offering Reform Release at n.122 (citing the Preliminary Note to Rule 168).
21
See JOBS Act Section 105(a) (revising Securities Act Section 2(a)(3)).
22
See Proposed Rule: Revisions to Rule 163, Release No. 33-9098 (Dec. 18, 2009).
23
See Securities Offering Reform Release at 82.
24
See JOBS Act Section 105(c) (adding new Securities Act Section 5(d)).
25
The application of Exchange Act Rule 15c2-8(e) to testing-the-waters activities was clarified by the SEC in FAQs issued by the
Division of Trading and Markets on August 22, 2013. See SEC Division of Trading and Markets, Jumpstart Our Business
Startups Act Frequent Asked Questions About Research Analysts and Underwriters, available at
http://www.sec.gov/divisions/marketreg/tmjobsact-researchanalystsfaq.htm (Research FAQs). As discussed in the response to
Question 1 of the Research FAQs, it should be possible for testing-the-waters activities to take place in a manner consistent
with the requirements of Rule 15c2-8(e) (which generally has been interpreted to require the availability of a red herring
prospectus prior to soliciting orders for the registered securities). In particular, the answer to Question 1 states that an
underwriter should generally be able to seek non-binding indications of interest from prospective investors (including as to the
number of shares they may seek to purchase at various price ranges) so long as the underwriters are not soliciting actual orders
and the investors are not otherwise asked to commit to purchase any particular securities.
26
Securities Act Rule 405 (defining Graphic Communication).
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27
For a comprehensive discussion of the law and lore around pricing outside the range, see our Client Alert Upsizing and
Downsizing Your IPO, available at http://www.lw.com/upload/pubContent/ pdf/pub3611 1.pdf.
28
Inelig ble issuers include blank check companies and shell companies, while ineligible offerings include business combinations.
See Rule 164(e), (f) and (g).
29
Securities Offering Reform Release at 111-12.
30
Id.
31
See Securities Act Rules C&DI, Question 232.02.
32
Securities Offering Reform Release at n.267.
33
See id. at n.206.
34
See id.
35
See Eliminating the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and General Advertising in Rule 506 and Rule 144A Offerings,
Release No. 33-9415 (July 10, 2013) (General Solicitation Adopting Release). For a comprehensive discussion of these rule
changes, see our Client Alert You Ta kin to Me? FAQs About the SECs New General Solicitation, Regulation D and Bad
Actor Rules, available at http://www.lw.com/thoughtLeadership/general-solicitation-reg-d-faq.
36
See Amendments to Regulation D, Form D and Rule 156, Release No. 33-9416 (July 10, 2013).
37
Securities Act Rule 902(c)(1).
38
Securities Act Rule 902(c).
39
Final Rule: Offshore Offers and Sales, Release No. 33-6863, text accompanying n.64 (Apr. 24, 1990).
40
Id., text accompanying n.145.
41
See General Solicitation Adopting Release at 58.
42
Many market participants also restrict the number of testing-the-waters meetings held.
43
See Securities Offering Reform Release at 92 and n.211.
44
Id. at 85 and n.188.
45
For an overview of the issues that need to be considered in connection with a directed share program, see our Words of
Wisdom blog entry Taking Sides with the Family Directed Share Programs, available at http://www.wowlw.com/initial-public-
offerings/taking-sides-with-the-family---directed-share-programs/.
46
See SEC v. Manor Nursing Centers, 458 F.2d 1082, 1095-1096 (2d Cir. 1972).
47
Securities Offering Reform Release at n.561; see also SEC Division of Corporation Finance, Securities Offering Reform
Frequently Asked Questions, Question 23 (Nov. 30, 2005).
48
Securities Offering Reform Release at n.155.
49
Id. at 66-67.
50
An analyst employed by an underwriting firm participating in the offering cannot attend (other than in listen-only mode from a
remote location) the road show for the offering under FINRA rules.
51
As a technical matter, Regulation FD may not apply here because Rule 100(b)(2)(iii) of Regulation FD provides an exclusion
from FDs requirements for disclosure made in connection with road shows for certain registered securities offerings. However, it
is not typical to rely on that exclusion based on principles of equal disclosure. The safer course is to proceed as if Regulation FD
applies.
52
For a thorough discussion of earnings guidance, including practice points and answers to frequently asked questions, see our
Client Alert Giving Good Guidance: What Every Public Company Should Know, available at
http://www.lw.com/thoughtLeadership/giving-good-guidance-public-company.
53
Securities Offering Reform Release at n.292.
54
Id. at n.297.
55
Final Rule: Offshore Offers and Sales, Release No. 33-6863 at n.64 and accompanying text (Apr. 24, 1990).
56
Securities Act Rule 405 (defining Well-Known Seasoned Issuer, (1)).
57
Id. at (2). For purposes of determining whether an issuer qualifies as a WKSI, the determination date is the later of: (1) the
time of filing of the issuers most recent shelf registration statement; (2) the time of the most recent amendment to its shelf
registration statement for purposes of satisfying Section 10(a)(3); or (3) the date of filing the issuers most recent annual report
on Form 10-K or Form 20-F (if it has not filed a shelf registration statement for 16 months).
58
Ineligible issuers include those that: (1) are not current in their Exchange Act reporting obligations (other than certain
enumerated Form 8-K filings); (2) are blank check companies, shell companies, penny stock issuers or limited partnerships
offering other than through a firm commitment underwriting; (3) have filed for bankruptcy within the past three years, although
ineligibility will terminate if an issuer has filed an annual report with audited financial statements subsequent to its emergence
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from bankruptcy; (4) within the past three years, have been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor under certain provisions of
the Exchange Act; (5) within the past three years, were made the subject of any judicial or administrative decree or order arising
out of a government action that: prohibits certain conduct or activities regarding (including future violations of) the US federal
securities laws, requires them to cease and desist from violating the antifraud provisions of the US federal securities laws or
determines that they have violated those antifraud provisions; or (6) have had any registration statement subject to a refusal
order or stop order within the past three years. See Securities Act Rule 405 (defining Ineligible Issuer).
59
Securities Offering Reform Release at 164.
60
Id. at 167.
61
Id. at 168.
62
See JOBS Act Section 105(a) (revising Securities Act Section 2(a)(3)).